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Build a King-Size Back

The silverback shrug can make it happen

If your traps are the size of bacon strips, you need to try the silverback shrug. Yes, it does make you look like a dominant gorilla—especially during the move itself. But once you've developed traps and an upper back like the powerful primate, we're guessing you won't mind any possible stares from the other lifters. 1.) Place a barbell on the floor and grab it with an overhand grip, hands slightly wider than shoulder-length apart. Keep your lower back in its natural arch and extend your hips, lifting the weight up to hip level. Now bend your knees slightly and bend over at the hips until your torso is about 45 degrees to the floor. Allow your arms to hang like a gorilla's.

 

2.) Keeping your elbows straight, simply shrug your shoulders toward the ceiling—because of your forward-leaning position, this will result in both an elevation and a retraction of your shoulders. Slowly lower the bar back to the starting point. That's one rep.

 

HOW TO USE IT Because it trains the upper back to be strong and stable, the silverback shrug can be a big help in increasing your deadlift poundage. Make it your second exercise in the workout after the deadlift and use it for 8-12 weeks. Start with two to three sets of 8-10 reps, and gradually increase the weight you use while dropping the reps so that you finish with sets of two or three. In the first few weeks, you need to build stability in the lower back, so rest 30-45 seconds between sets. As you work up to heavier weights, increase your rest periods to two to three minutes for greater recovery.

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